Presentation on theme: "Sales Managers’ Club 2008 Mallorca, May By Vincent Merk"— Presentation transcript:
1 Sales Managers’ Club 2008 Mallorca, May 19-21 By Vincent Merk How to deal with cultural differences in an international business environmentSales Managers’ Club 2008 Mallorca, May 19-21By Vincent Merk
2 Game: “Tower for the Derdians” Build a (paper) towerObjectives of the game:Develop cultural awarenessTrain intercultural sensitivityTrain knowledge transferDevelop group dynamics and team spiritAddress some cultural dimensions
3 Developing Intercultural Competence: the ability to reconcile seemingly opposing values (by F. Trompenaars) - The 4 Rs:Recognise culturaldifferencesRespect culturalReconcile culturalRealise and Root
4 A definition…« Culture is a set of beliefs, values, norms or standards, shared by a group of people, which help the individuals to decide what is, what can be, how to feel, what to do and how to go about doing it. » GoodenoughBut…• Culture is learned !• Culture is forgotten - we stop being conscious of it• Our culture follows us everywhere – we can’t just take it off and leave it outside !
5 Dividing “here” into 4 levels: “Culture is the way we do things here”(Deal & Kennedy)Dividing “here” into 4 levels:The personal cultureThe national cultureThe professional cultureThe corporate culture
8 TROMPENAARS MODEL: Seven Dimensions of Culture RULES versus EXCEPTIONS AND RELATIONSHIPSUniversalism versus ParticularismINDIVIDUAL versus GROUP ORIENTATIONIndividualism versus CommunitarianismEMOTIONS: CONTROLLING EMOTIONS versus EXPRESSIVENeutral versus Affective RelationshipsSEGMENTING versus INTEGRATING RELATIONSHIPSSpecific versus Diffuse RelationshipsSTATUS based on: “What you do” versus “Who you are”Achievement versus AscriptionTIMEMonochronic versus PolychronicRELATIONSHIP with NATURE / ENVIRONMENTInternal Control (dominate nature) versus External Control (part of nature)
9 UNIVERSALISM – PARTICULARISM: a case study You are riding in a car driven by a close friend. It is getting dark outside. He hits a pedestrian crossing the street. You know he was going at least 40 km/h in a residential area where the maximum allowed speed is 30 km/h. There are no witnesses. His lawyer says that if you testify under oath that he was only driving 30 km/h, it may save him from serious consequences.What right does your friend have to expect you to testify to the lower figure? What do you think you would do in view of the obligation of a sworn witness and obligation to your friend?
10 Universalism My friend has no/some right and I would not help %1
11 Universalism versus Particularism Issues/problems between the two: RULES & SYSTEMS EXCEPTIONS AND RELATIONSHIPSObligation to universal systems, contracts“It depends” -The particular situationPositive connotationConsistency FlexibilityNegative connotationRigidity CorruptionIssues/problems between the two:The meaning of a contract‘Objective systems’ from headquarters:focus on global products, systems, documenting vs local adaptation and exceptions
13 Individualism vs Communitarianism Issues/problems between the two: INDIVIDUAL ORIENTATION GROUP ORIENTATION“I” comes first“We” comes firstPositive connotationPersonal initiative, Commitment,accountability teamworkNegative connotationEgoism, anarchy ConformismIssues/problems between the two:Reward systemsDecision making
14 Encounter Specific and Diffuse PublicPrivatePrivateDanger Zone
15 Intercultural communication is: Verbal vs. non-verbal communicationWords, images, song & danceHigh and low contextCreate and maintain trust
17 High and low context High context An example: Information cultures implicitlycontainedexplicitlyconveyedAn example:A group of Dutch tourists asks a Malaysian if Lumpur is far from here. Seeing they look tired, he sympathises and replies: “No”. After 2 hours of walking, they still have not reached Lumpur. Reaction?
18 High and low context Asian (Chinese, Japanese) High context Arabic/ Mid. EastLatin-AmericanItalian, SpanishSlavicBritish EnglishFrenchAmerican EnglishScandinavianGermanDutchSwiss-GermanHigh contextculturesLow contextInformationimplicitlycontainedexplicitlyconveyed
19 Communication Commandments: - Know (some of) the local language:"Impossible is nothing," a sign in Beijing's airport and one of those funny mistranslations of the common phrase, "Nothing is impossible."- Know about the local culture, history, traditions, happenings, events, current news, etc.- Know your partner: job, family, hobbies, background, etc.- And finally… Wonder, observe, listen, absorb, ask, wait, expose, try out, honour, etc.
20 Specific versus Diffuse Issues/problems between the two: ANALYTIC, SEGMENTING HOLISTIC, INTEGRATEDSegmented relationshipsConnected relationshipsPositive connotationEasy contact Personal involvementNegative connotationSuperficial FormalBlunt IndirectIssues/problems between the two:‘Losing face’Explicit / implicit communication stylesDifferent ways of problem solving
21 Achievement versus Ascription What You DoWho You AreSTATUS ?
22 Ascribed StatusFamilyAgeGenderEducationPosition in hierarchy
24 Nature: Internal vs External Control Nature as an organismSubjugation to natureInternal control:Dominance over nature
25 Internal control vs External control Issues/problems between the two: We control the environmentIn charge of our own destinyTechnology pushHarmony with environmentFate, luckMarket pullPositive connotationIn control AdaptiveNegative connotationDominant, arrogant Fate used as an excuseIssues/problems between the two:Perceive the other as weak or as arrogantDifferent ways of strategising, planning
26 A few recommendations: In international business, it always takes 2 to…Tango!